first_imgDear Editor,There is an absolute silence from the Government and GuySuCo on the sugar company’s dismal performance in 2016 when 183,600 tonnes of sugar were produced against an estimated 231,000; a drop of 47,400 tonnes or 21 per cent. This drop would have brought in almost US$24 million or G$4.8 billion in revenue. This amount could have certainly afforded the sugar workers more than a token increase in pay and reduced the burden on taxpayers who have been, and are still, providing hefty annual subsidies to the company. The production in 2016 is the lowest since 1990 when 129,000 tonnes was produced. The silence is a marked contrast to the mounting self-praise by the company’s CEO, the Board and the Government at the end of 2015 when 231,000 tonnes were produced. The praise was showered on the astute leadership of senior management, non-political interference and dedication by lower-level management and workers. In the same way that reasons were advanced for the good 2015 performance, they need now to say what the contributing reasons for 2016’s dismal performance were. The nation needs to hear, and in particular the taxpayers.The sugar company was blessed last year with weather that was considered very conducive to harvesting, except for inclement weather towards the tail-end of the second crop; as such, one would not expect weather to be a contributing factor. The type of weather experienced last year through the effect of El Niño was absent from several previous years.There is every likelihood that labour will be hammered as a factor, but before doing so the company needs to state how many man days were lost from strikes associated to poor working conditions in harvesting fields. When the average cane yield last year was just above 55 tonnes cane per hectare, what could the average cane harvester expect in the cane fields? It will not be fields highly populated with canes, but fields sparsely populated with canes and highly populated with grass and shrubs. This kind of insanitary condition would have certainly led to disputes, poor attendance, low productivity and ultimately strikes.Editor, it appears that the company has lost focus on its primary function which is to produce sugar at an economical cost, and which could only come about through growing and harvesting good-quality canes with acceptable yields. The low level of production as experienced in 2016 could only serve management’s thrust to justify closures and downsizing, but whilst it’s being bandied that the company’s operations should be downsized, the executive arm of the company is being expanded. Only recently, there have been newly created jobs at the executive levels and which have been filled at exorbitant cost.Is it that this company is all about enjoying the perks at the high level and providing jobs for the boys or should it be showing the nation on whose taxes it survives that there is optimism for growth and survival? Unfortunately, 2016 illustrates the former.Yours faithfully,Selwyn Narinedattlast_img

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